Jack Would Be A Gentleman
The blurb on the back:
'D'yer think I'm bloody well made of money?' Jack Prosser stared angrily at his wife, then at his children and finally at the veneered television squatting on the television table. And then a few days later: The pools man drew off one leather glove and wrung Jack's hand enthusiastically. 'Not a bad sum, Mr Prosser. You've won fifty thousand pounds.
In the modern world of the National Lottery (or Lotto or whatever they're calling the bloody thing this week), the old story of the Pools-winner looks a bit dated. But, back before Camelot, even before Viv Nicholson declared that what she would do with her winnings was 'spend spend spend' , Gillian Freeman was exploring the consequences of sudden wealth.
Her conclusions aren't very startling, and the effects she outlines on the family in this novel seem pretty obvious: mother wants social advancement and acceptance, father gets exploited in business dealings, daughter sees chance of romantic happiness with a bit of posh, son wants to have it large up in town. But perhaps this is doing Ms Freeman something of a disservice, because actually the book is more predictive than predictable - written in 1959 (and republished here in the wake of Ms Nicholson), it was an imaginative leap into a situation that had yet to become commonplace.
Even so, the best stuff in here is the detailed description of the world of 1950s Britain. Most of it is set in a dormitory town - working-class with a posh bit of suburb attached - that is as parochial as only small-town England can be, with just the occasional venture up to London for some glamour:
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 2/5